Despite it being a nasty NYC rainy day and not getting to warm up at the apartment, my semi-final round went well. I met with JD yesterday to go over my repertoire (and to decide if one rehearsal was really enough to put the Harbison piece together; turns out it wasn’t), and we met at her apartment again this morning to touch on a few things before heading to the 92nd Street Y (not YMCA, but YM&WH(ebrew)A! thanks for the tip!) for the competition. We got there with plenty of time to change into our auditionwear (wrinkle-proof dresses rolled up in our bags) and fix our windblown hair. The competition was running a bit ahead of schedule, a rarity, due to several cancellations and generous time slots (12 minutes each), but we still had plenty of time to catch our breath and center a bit.
We had been under the impression that the panel would select all three of our selections, one from each category (standard aria, post-1950 aria, and 20th/21st C. art song), but we learned that we could choose the first number. What to start with? We decided to be brave and come out with guns slinging: the 12-tone, angry Dallapiccola (text: “Lord, you have already torn from me the one thing I wanted most…” not happy!). JD plays the killer piano part with serious attitude, and we both nailed it. They asked, as I suspected they would, for Nannetta next. Talk about a contrast! After that, I was expecting them to ask for a contemporary aria, but instead one man (Ron Land, I believe) said, “Would you like to sing the Rorem? I’d really like to hear that.” Another art song! No problem. High and floaty, really a gorgeous piece.
When that was over, I expected the usual “Thank you,” as I had sung three pieces. I think I even started to turn to the door when someone said, “We really should hear one of her contemporary arias, don’t you think? We need to hear one from each category.” There was some bantering at this point about “bonus tracks” and “maybe they’d just hear my whole program!”, but in the end they asked for the Britten. Since JD was one of the rehearsal pianists for Midsummer at Tanglewood, this aria was a walk in the park. We really have fun with it! When I finished singing and looked back at the panel (there were about ten judges), one older gentleman had his chin in his hands and a twinkle in his eye, and he said, “You sing like a bird!” Jocelyn and I just about fell over laughing when we left the room! It was great.
All in all, we’re very pleased. I’ll find out tonight around 7:30 if I made the finals. There were 18 semi-finalists; there will be 7 finalists, three prizewinners. I’ll let you know!